072302018 Red-tailed Hawk - 2
Good Samaritans and angels do exist! One very lucky red-tailed hawk, who shall remain nameless, knows that for certain....
On Monday, July 23rd, a kind person came upon a red-tailed hawk by the side of the road right here in Fort Wayne. The bird made no attempt to flee, a red flag that something was terribly wrong. After a few phone calls the rescuer was told to contact Soarin' Hawk Raptor Rehab. Upon initial examination of this bird, Dr. Funnell found blood coming from the left ear, a wound over the right eye where flies had already deposited their eggs that turned into maggots. Flat flies and lice were covering the bird, adding to its misery. Not knowing how the bird was injured, we could only assume it was a car strike. X-rays revealed no broken bones, but this beauty still needed lots of attention and time to heal.
Subcutaneous fluids for re-hydration, pain meds, antibiotics, Ivermectin to kill off the parasites that had invaded its body, and a warm place to rest were provided so it could regain some strength. Despite its lethargic condition and injuries, this bird was still at a healthy weight which indicated it hadn't been down for very long. Our normal protocol is to continue with re-hydration for a few days until the bird can eat on its own and to also administer daily pain meds and antibiotics. It wasn't long before she was eating on her own, slowing getting stronger, feistier and after several weeks it was clear she was ready to get out of ICU and into our larger pens with other rehabbing red-tailed hawks.
Flight conditioning, or creance, is the final treatment prior to a bird getting released back in the wild. Just like humans convalescing, muscles are not as strong while you are recovering, so it takes time to build them back up.
Finally on a beautiful day in October, it was time - time to go home - time to fly one last time without having to be held back by a creance line. Time to fly towards the trees and enjoy life as a free bird!
Oh and the reason I stated the "red-tailed hawk who shall remain nameless” - this is a good thing because a nameless bird is one that can be released back into the wild. Some of our patients are not able to be released and they become educational ambassadors, who eventually receive a name.